Khronos Group Releases OpenSL ES 1.1 Specification For Stereo and 3D Audio on Any Mobile Platform and OS

Support from Creative, Google, Nokia, NVIDIA, Qualcomm & SRS Labs, Inc. + Others

January 18, 2011 – San Jose, CA – The Khronos™ Group (Beaverton, OR) today publicly released the OpenSL ES™ 1.1 specification for high-performance, low-latency audio across any mobile and embedded device platform or operating system.  OpenSL ES 1.1 enables psychoacoustically enhanced 3D audio across a wide range of applications, such as gaming, videoconferencing, music and ringtones as well as advanced stereo and MIDI functionality. 

OpenSL ES works not only on smartphones and leading-edge mobile devices but also portable designs utilizing older hardware.  Regardless of its deployment platform, OpenSL ES provides a common reference API (Application Programming Interface) that enables any device to achieve the maximum audio performance available to its hardware.  OpenSL ES is the latest addition to the line of Khronos APIs creating a common platform of hardware-accelerated, cross platform functionality for mobile devices, including OpenGL ES™ (2D/3D graphics) and OpenMAX™ IL (system-level multimedia) and OpenMAX™ AL (application-level multimedia).  The OpenSL ES 1.1 specification is immediately available for download at www.khronos.org/opensles/ and may be used royalty-free by implementers and developers.

OpenSL ES Details

OpenSL ES 1.1 is a fully featured audio API that enables application developers to control and utilize advanced audio functionality in a device while being isolated from platform specifics.  This allows audio-enhanced applications to run on a multitude of hardware-accelerated and software-based platforms.  OpenSL ES was designed by many of the leading industry audio experts to provide access to a broad range of audio functionality, including:

  • Playback of PCM and encoded content, MIDI ringtones and UI sounds, as well as extraction of content metadata;
  • General audio controls such as volume, rate and pitch; music player effects such as equalizer, bass boost, preset reverberation and stereo widening, as well as advanced 3D effects such as Doppler, environmental reverberation and virtualization;
  • Advanced MIDI including SP-MIDI, mobile DLS, mobile XMF, MIDI messages and the ability to use the output of the MIDI engine as a 3D sound source;
  • Full 3D positional audio including grouping of 3D sound sources;
  • Audio recording in PCM as well as non-PCM formats;
  • Optional support for LED and vibrator control, 3D macroscopic control and audio recording;
  • Provides a portable foundation for implementing the audio portions of higher-level APIs such as JSR 135 and JSR 234;
  • Technical details unique to OpenSL ES 1.1 include support for:
    • Buffer queues
    • Content pipes
    • Better application control of 3D performance
    • Explicit object ordering
    • Dynamic sources and sinks
    • Multiple version support
    • Metadata support for streaming playback
    • Extension configuration support

Due to the broad range of audio functionality it offers, OpenSL ES defines three overlapping profiles allowing implementers to select the features required by a particular device while preserving application portability (one or more profiles may be used on a device):

  • The Phone profile provides playback controls and volume controls, sound prioritization and MIDI as well as the ability to direct sound to multiple simultaneous outputs;
  • The Music profile provides balance and pan controls, sound prioritization and audio effects such as virtualization, preset reverberation and equalizer controls;
  • The Game profile provides buffer queues, pitch and playback rate control, environmental reverberation and extensive positional 3D audio controls that complement the use of OpenGL ES for 3D graphics in sophisticated mobile applications.

An Adopters Program for OpenSL ES, including extensive conformance tests to ensure cross-implementation consistency and trademark usage by conformant implementations, will be released by Khronos during the first quarter of 2011.  SRS Labs, Inc. also has a complete OpenSL ES v1.1 Phone – Music – Game solution, including all of the optional features and relevant IP blocks required, available for license to interested companies.

Integration

OpenSL ES seamlessly integrates with the latest version of OpenMAX™ AL for a complete multimedia-enhanced mobile solution, with OpenMAX AL providing multimedia playback and recording capabilities while OpenSL ES provides advanced stereo and 3D audio functionality.  (EDITORS NOTE: OpenMAX AL 1.1 was announced simultaneously at the Khronos press conference on January 18, 2011 – see press release for further details).

"The enhancements released in OpenSL ES 1.1 and OpenMAX AL 1.1 enable handset manufactures to provide application developers with a truly portable advanced audio and streaming multimedia solution.  The combined power of OpenSL ES and OpenMAX AL, linked by their common architecture, has never before been available in a standard developed specifically for mobile solutions," said Neil Trevett, President of the Khronos Group.

3rd-Party Support

A number of leading companies have worked on the OpenSL ES 1.1 specification, including: AMD®, Creative®, Ericsson®, Google®, Nokia®, NVIDIA®, Qualcomm® and SRS Labs, Inc.  A full list of the OpenSL ES Working Group members may be found at www.khronos.org/opensles.

“Today’s smartphones and other advanced mobile devices either carry or have access to massive libraries of songs, movies and TV shows but, unfortunately, almost all of these mobile devices suffer the drawback of collapsed audio due to their small and closely spaced speaker configurations,” said Bob Lyle, Managing Director of Global Business Development for SRS Labs, Inc.  “To address this inherent shortcoming, SRS has developed several new audio enhancement solutions and we are very excited to be contributing to the OpenSL ES specification and bringing our unique psychoacoustic know-how and world class technologies to a wide range of mobile applications, effectively delivering a compelling and dynamic audio experience to any mobile device.”

"OpenSL ES brings powerful, advanced 3D audio to mobile devices in a simple and standardized way.  It empowers applications to harness hardware acceleration and third party audio enhancements in a simple to use, object-oriented design," said Erik Noreke, Chair of the OpenSL ES Working Group and an Independent Standardization Specialist.  "The adopters program provides access to the Khronos royalty-free IP license, one of the most implementer-friendly IP policies in the industry."

About The Khronos Group
The Khronos Group is an industry consortium creating open standards to enable the authoring and acceleration of parallel computing, graphics and dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices.  Khronos standards include OpenGL®, OpenGL® ES, OpenCL™, OpenMAX™, OpenVG™, OpenSL ES™, OpenKODE™, and COLLADA™.  All Khronos members are able to contribute to the development of Khronos specifications, are empowered to vote at various stages before public deployment and are able to accelerate the delivery of their cutting-edge media platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests.  More information is available at www.khronos.org.

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Khronos, OpenKODE, OpenVG, OpenSL ES and OpenMAX are trademarks of the Khronos Group Inc. OpenCL is a trademark of Apple Inc., COLLADA is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. and OpenGL is a registered trademark and the OpenGL ES and OpenGL SC logos are trademarks of Silicon Graphics Inc. used under license by Khronos. All other product names, trademarks, and/or company names are used solely for identification and belong to their respective owners.

Khronos Group Releases Provisional OpenMAX AL Digital TV Extension Specification

Provisional Digital TV extension adds standards-agnostic Mobile TV tuning, playback, recording and electronic program guide functionality to OpenMAX AL Multimedia API

January 18, 2011 – San Jose, CA – The Khronos™ Group (Beaverton, OR) today announced it has publicly released the OpenMAX™ AL Digital TV Extension (Provisional) specification, a royalty-free, cross-platform C-language API for high-performance digital TV-related applications on mobile and embedded devices.  The OpenMAX AL DTV Extension simplifies deployment of digital TV functionality across any platform or operating system and enables developers to create rich DTV-related media applications across a wide range of hardware devices.

OpenMAX AL (Application Layer) enables native applications to be portable across multiple operating systems and hardware platforms by providing an extensive application-level API.  OpenMAX AL enables high-level abstraction for comprehensive audio-visual media functionality and the ability to create and control player and recorder objects, connecting them to configurable input and output objects.  Inputs and outputs include content readers and writers, headphones, loudspeakers, microphones, display windows, cameras, broadcast radios, LEDs and other types of A/V devices.  OpenMAX AL is the highest layer of the OpenMAX family of APIs for multimedia acceleration and application development.  (EDITORS NOTE: OpenMAX AL 1.1 was announced simultaneously at the Khronos press conference on January 18, 2011 – see press release for further details).

The DTV Extension enhances the multimedia functionality provided by OpenMAX AL by adding digital TV functionality specifically tailored for the diverse needs and requirements of mobile and embedded devices.  The DTV Extension has been designed by leading industry experts in audio, video and mobile TV to provide a broad range of digital TV-related media functionality, including:

  • Technology-neutral access to Broadcast, Unicast and Multicast delivery methods for Digital TV
  • Compatibility with all major mobile TV standards (e.g. DVB-H, ISDB-T, T-DMB, etc.)
  • Modularized software design: separate objects to represent each part of a full Digital TV implementation.
    • Digital TV Source – Communicates with the reception hardware and streaming servers.  This object can handle broadcasts, multicasts and unicasts.
    • Service Object – data source for the player.  Uses the Digital TV Source to retrieve data.
    • Electronic Program Guide Manager – Handles queries on the program guide, and provides service information to the application.
  • The Electronic Program Guide Manager is the only optional object, but it is highly recommended to implement all three objects to get a feature-rich Digital TV implementation.

The OpenMAX AL DTV Extension (provisional) specification is immediately available for download http://www.khronos.org/openmax/al/dtv and may be used royalty-free by implementers and developers.  The DTV Extension specification has been released in provisional form to allow developers and potential adopters to get an early look at it and provide feedback.  A discussion forum has been set up at http://www.khronos.org/message_boards/openmaxal_dtv_feedback to facilitate developer feedback.  The OpenMAX AL Working Group is in the midst of finalizing the conformance tests for the DTV Extension.

As part of the Khronos ecosystem of multimedia and acceleration APIs, the OpenMAX AL Digital TV extension is an important next step in standardizing digital TV and making it easily accessible to both application developers and mobile consumers,” said Erik Noreke, an Independent Standardization Specialist and one of the key designers of the Digital TV extension.  “The fact that the Digital TV extension is transmission technology-agnostic allows the same framework and applications to be repurposed across a variety of platforms, resulting in exceptional device portability across various markets.”

“Adding DTV functionality was the logical next step in the evolution of OpenMAX AL as a robust, open standards interface to the rich multimedia functionality available on mobile devices,” said Yeshwant Muthusamy, a Technology Manager at Nokia and Chair of the OpenMAX AL Working Group at Khronos.  “We look forward to receiving feedback on this provisional specification from the multimedia developer community.  Their feedback will be invaluable to us in ensuring that the final DTV extension meets all of their needs.”

“SRS Labs welcomes the creation of open standards designed to provide applications with access to digital TV functionality in mobile devices,” said Alan Kraemer, Chief Technology Officer for SRS Labs, Inc.  “We view this as an important step towards making digital TV easily available on a broad base of handheld devices.”

In addition to OpenMAX AL, Khronos also provides the OpenMAX IL (Integration Layer) API which defines a low-level abstraction to codecs, file manipulations, transformations and peripheral components on a system.  OpenMAX IL enables system integrators and media framework vendors to efficiently and flexibly integrate the internals of a multimedia architecture with a range of different acceleration silicon.  OpenMAX IL may be used as an efficient acceleration layer for implementing OpenMAX AL and enables media processing components to interoperate with each other, even if they are delivered from multiple vendors.  The latest version of OpenMAX IL, v1.1.2, was released in September 2008.

About The Khronos Group
The Khronos Group is an industry consortium creating open standards to enable the authoring and acceleration of parallel computing, graphics and dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices.  Khronos standards include OpenGL®, OpenGL® ES, OpenCL™, OpenMAX™, OpenVG™, OpenSL ES™, OpenKODE™, and COLLADA™.  All Khronos members are able to contribute to the development of Khronos specifications, are empowered to vote at various stages before public deployment, and are able to accelerate the delivery of their cutting-edge media platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests.  More information is available at www.khronos.org.

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Khronos, OpenKODE, OpenVG, OpenSL ES and OpenMAX are trademarks of the Khronos Group Inc.  OpenCL is a trademark of Apple Inc., COLLADA is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. and OpenGL is a registered trademark and the OpenGL ES and OpenGL SC logos are trademarks of Silicon Graphics Inc. used under license by Khronos.  All other product names, trademarks, and/or company names are used solely for identification and belong to their respective owners.

Khronos Group Releases OpenMAX AL Specification for Application-level Video, Audio and Image Processing on Mobile and Handheld Devices

Brings Extensive Media Playback, Recording and Processing Functionality to Any Platform and Operating System; Integration with OpenSL ES for 3D Sound in Multimedia and Gaming Applications

January 18, 2011 – San Jose, CA – The Khronos™ Group (Beaverton, OR) today announced it has publicly released the OpenMAX™ AL 1.1 specification, a royalty-free, cross-platform C-language API (Application Programming Interface) for high-performance multimedia applications on mobile and embedded devices.

OpenMAX AL (Application Layer) enables native applications to be portable across multiple operating systems and hardware platforms by providing an extensive application-level API that enables high-level abstraction for comprehensive audio-visual media functionality.  OpenMAX AL allows applications to run on both hardware-accelerated systems as well as software-based media solutions.

OpenMAX AL provides the ability to create and control player and recorder objects, connecting them to configurable input and output objects.  Inputs and outputs include content readers and writers, headphones, loudspeakers, microphones, display windows, cameras, haptics, broadcast radios, LEDs and many other types of A/V devices. 

OpenMAX AL has been designed by many of the leading industry audio, video and photography experts across a range of industries to provide access to a broad array of media functionality, which includes:

  • Media playback: Includes playback of PCM audio, encoded audio, MIDI ringtones, UI sounds and encoded video and image content as well as extraction of metadata embedded in the media content.  Video playback refers to support for synchronized audio/video playback.  Image playback refers to the decoding and display of compressed image data.
  • Media recording: Includes support for the recording of audio and video, as well as image capture.  Video recording refers to support for synchronized audio/video recording.  Image capture refers to camera functionality.
  • Effects and controls: For audio, this includes support for general controls such as volume and balance, and music player effects such as equalizer.  For image and video, this includes support for gamma adjustments and controlling the brightness and contrast.

Optional functionality includes:

  • MIDI: Includes support for SP-MIDI, mobile DLS and mobile XMF.
  • Analog Radio: Includes support for analog radio tuning as well as support for RDS/RBDS content.
  • LED array: Includes support for controlling multiple colored LED arrays.
  • Vibration device (“vibra”): Includes support for controlling vibration device intensity and frequency.
  • A Digital TV (DTV) extension (see separate Khronos announcement, January 18, 2011)

This version of the API has specific provisions for deep integration with OpenSL ES™ 1.1 (also announced January 18, 2011 – see separate Khronos press release) to enable mobile multimedia with 3D sound, as well as standard stereo and even MIDI for older-generation mobile devices. 

OpenMAX AL has audio features such as an analog radio tuner and RDS, and video and image capture/rendering features that are not part of OpenSL ES.  Similarly, OpenSL ES has advanced audio features such as effects (reverberation, stereo widening, bass boost, etc.) and positional 3D audio that are not part of OpenMAX AL. 

OpenMAX AL is the highest layer of the OpenMAX family of APIs for multimedia acceleration and application development.  In addition, Khronos also provides the OpenMAX IL (Integration Layer) API that defines a low-level abstraction to codecs, file manipulations, transformations and peripheral components on a system.

The OpenMAX AL specification is immediately available for download at http://www.khronos.org/openmax/al/ and may be used royalty-free by implementers and developers.  A paid Adopters Program for OpenMAX AL is also available immediately at http://www.khronos.org/adopters/ which provides extensive conformance tests to ensure cross-implementation consistency and a trademark license for conformant implementations.

A number of leading companies have worked on the OpenMAX AL 1.1 specification, including: AMD®, Creative®, Ericsson®, Google®, Nokia®, NVIDIA®, Qualcomm® and SRS Labs, Inc.  A full list of the OpenMAX AL Working Group members may be found at http://www.khronos.org/openmax/al.

“OpenMAX AL represents a cornerstone effort by Khronos to standardize multimedia portability across any mobile device.  OpenMAX AL and its integration with OpenSL ES bring a rich new multimedia and audio foundation for developers to build upon,” said Yeshwant Muthusamy, a Technology Manager at Nokia® and Chair of the OpenMAX AL Working Group at Khronos.

“OpenMAX AL allows applications to take advantage of the powerful underlying streaming media engine without having to deal with the complexity of the system architecture,” said Erik Noreke, Chair of the OpenSL ES Working Group and an Independent Standardization Specialist.  “OpenMAX AL allows application developers to focus on building an even greater user multimedia experience instead of spending time navigating the intricacies of the underlying system and porting between platforms.”

About The Khronos Group
The Khronos Group is an industry consortium creating open standards to enable the authoring and acceleration of parallel computing, graphics and dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices.  Khronos standards include OpenGL®, OpenGL® ES, OpenCL™, OpenMAX™, OpenVG™, OpenSL ES™, OpenKODE™, and COLLADA™.  All Khronos members are able to contribute to the development of Khronos specifications, are empowered to vote at various stages before public deployment, and are able to accelerate the delivery of their cutting-edge media platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests.  More information is available at www.khronos.org.

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Khronos, OpenKODE, OpenVG, OpenSL ES and OpenMAX are trademarks of the Khronos Group Inc. OpenCL is a trademark of Apple Inc., COLLADA is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. and OpenGL is a registered trademark and the OpenGL ES and OpenGL SC logos are trademarks of Silicon Graphics Inc. used under license by Khronos. All other product names, trademarks, and/or company names are used solely for identification and belong to their respective owners.

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